Historic and Downtown Standards

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Because Georgetown is rich in resources and offers an outstanding quality of life, it continues to attract development that challenges us to seek creative ways of protecting its character.  Preservation of the built environment not only provides a link to the past, but helps maintain the feel and way of life that makes Georgetown so attractive today.  Many of the buildings tell the story of Georgetown’s unique historical development and keeping those resources creates a sense of place for those who live and visit here.   

Georgetown has Five Basic Preservation Principles.  They are:

  1. Respect the historic design character of the building.
  2. Seek uses that are compatible with the historic character of the building.
  3. Protect and maintain significant features and stylistic elements.
  4. Preserve key, character-defining features of the property.
  5. Repair deteriorated historic features, and replace only those elements that cannot be repaired.

These Principles are further explained in the Downtown and Old Town Design Guidelines.



[accordions] [accordion title=”2016 Historic Resources Survey”] The new 2016 Survey references are now available!   Click here: Historic Resources Survey [/accordion] [accordion title=”Town Square Historic District”] This is the nine-block area around the Williamson County Courthouse that includes buildings on the historic Square (See the Downtown Overlay Map).[/accordion] [accordion title=”Downtown Overlay District”] This is a 40 – 50 block area that surrounds the Square and contains many historic commercial and residential structures. The Downtown Overlay District is roughly bordered by the South San Gabriel River to the north, University Avenue to the South, Martin Luther King, Jr. Street to the west and Myrtle Street to the east.  Downtown Overlay Map [/accordion]

[accordion title=”Old Town Overlay District”] This is a larger area encompassing much of Old Town. The Old Town District includes residential and commercial areas. Due to the historic value of these areas, the City has taken extra steps to ensure that their identity continues to prosper for generations to come. Old Town Overlay Map

The Preservation of structures within the Overlay Districts are regulated through the submission of construction plans to the City’s Historic and Architectural Review Commission for a Certificate of Appropriateness:[/accordion]

[accordion title=”Certificate of Appropriateness(CoA)”] Plans for new construction or renovation of existing structures in the Downtown Historic Overlay must be submitted to the Planning department. This includes changes to the building’s exterior, the building site, or signs. Approval of plans results in the issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness. For Commercial or planned Commercial in the Old Town Overlay District, a Certificate of Appropriateness is also required.

Detailed information on submission requirements for a Certificate of Appropriateness application can be found in Section 3.13 of the UDC Certificate of Appropriateness[/accordion] [accordion title=”Historic and Architectural Review Commission (HARC)”] This Commission reviews plans for changes to buildings, sites, and signage within the Historic Overlay Districts prior to those changes being made. The Commission issues a Certificate of Appropriateness to approved modifications that are consistent with the Downtown Design Guidelines.  The Commission meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 6 pm in the Council Chambers.  The agendas for these meetings are posted here: Agendas [/accordion] [accordion title=”Downtown Design Guidelines”] Special guidelines for changes to buildings, sites, and signage within the Downtown and Old Town Historic Overlays. These are the rules that the Historic and Architectural Review Commission uses to approve or not approve modifications.  Downtown and Old Town Design Guidelines  [/accordion]


Other groups involved in historic preservation in Georgetown include the Georgetown Main Street Program and the Georgetown Heritage Society. More information on these items can be found by clicking on the appropriate link to the left.

If you are a prospective applicant within one of our Overlay Districts or have any questions, please contact the Historic District Planner.